Aside from that, I guess it's been all about eating. They brought in the pidan, century eggs, to the fancy market across the street from us. I liked them when I had them in Changsha, so I decided to buy a few and play with them a bit. I'm not sure what the difference is between buying them when they've been all cleaned off and you just have to crack open that gray-blue shell and buying an egg still coated in straw and other things. "Clay" doesn't seem to suffice for describing the mix that is applied to the eggs but given the slightly pinkish color, that's usually the first word that comes to mind when I see it. So I had them straight the first time, they were OK. Then because I'd heard they were good with zhou/jook/congee, I took some leftover rice and made some chicken broth, tossed both into my rice cooker with some slices of ginger and garlic, stirred occasionally, and was able to make a nice thick flavorful jook. It was pretty good. I haven't tried much else, but I've come to the conclusion that century eggs are probably better paired with something because of its unique taste. It's interesting to me because of the different textures you get too. The egg yolk is kind of semi-solid and still a bit liquidy, the white has became dark and gelatinous, and the other inner part is a bit more solid than the rest. It looks scary, but it's not too bad, just a slight kind of...sulfurous(?) smell.
I'm tired, the kids say I have a white hair now which is surprising because I've felt more on top of it lesson plan wise but have been trying to keep up discipline wise. I'm just too non-responsive when I need to act in class in regards to noise and misbehavior. Maybe I've been more stressed than I believe with trying to enforce some new class rules about the noise. I also called a woman from a local university who gave her number to my sitemate. Given that I'm pretty quiet, she can't remember that we met at the same event where she met my site mate/remember meeting me at all. When I called, she said she still wanted to see my site mate since we were both still in Zhuzhou. I'm preparing my resume now, but we shall see. I really want to get things going so I can be clear about my expectations in the contract (if I get one).
Aside from school stuff, (as I mentioned before) our fellow WorldTeachers in Nanyue invited everyone out for a weekend to come for a climb up the mountain and socializing. It was fun, but I'm exhausted and struggling to pull myself together for the week. They booked the hostel rooms for us so we just needed to come and pay. It was more expensive than I anticipated but the upside is even with the extra expenses it looks like I'll be holding onto 2/3 of my stipend from this month due to my thriftiness. The Nanyue teachers are good friends with the woman who runs the hostel and when she heard they had a group of friends coming she arranged for a bus, a quick tea ceremony demonstration, a visit to a Buddhist pagoda, and a visit to a Daoist temple where we had a chance to ask the master there (and I guess the head daoist leader in that area) some questions through those of us who spoke a decent amount of Chinese and some of the locals who helped us out. I arrived on Friday after taking the bus, which is a bit of a strange experience because you get on the big bus in Zhuzhou, they drop you off on the side of the road and you have to get on a much smaller bus, and then when you get there you need to find another bus or a taxi to get to where you want to go. Saturday was really long...We left just around 10AM to walk to where the bus was, but we stopped for a quick look at the Chinese tea ceremony before we got on board. The roads around the mountain were like home, but with more tourist buses going up and down and the rides being a bit longer than between my high school and my home. And though I've seen an orange-robed monk before while standing in line at a grocery store back home, it's not as if I actually drive past gold buddha statues or temples back home either. I'm sure I'll come back and write more in-depth about it all later. But I'm just really tired after staying up until 1AM, getting up to meet everyone for coffee, catching the train back to Zhuzhou, and happily discovering that I have water again. My water went out on Thursday night and I was worried I'd be coming back to another week of no showers. As far as my impressions go, most of what I can come up with is the smell of incense all throughout Nanyue and all over Hengshan (the mountain we went up), the sight of crowds of people kneeling and bowing before tables covered with cups, incense, and other things out in the street at night, that it was fun to catch up and see everyone, and that I wouldn't mind coming back. But eh. I have work to do now and kids who need to remember they have a test in June. I'm thinking of creating a wikispace or something where they can review the words from my class and I'll record myself so they can hear the words. Or maybe I'll ask them to contribute to the website by pronouncing the words. Anyway, back to lesson planning and then some much needed rest.